Roger Bales in The Modesto Bee: Sierra is white with snow, but more drought solutions needed

A researcher skis to the SSCZO site near Providence Creek in the Sierra National Forest, CA. January 2016. Photo: Melissa Thaw.

22 Jan 2016
News Source: The Modesto Bee

Image: A researcher skis to the SSCZO site near Providence Creek in the Sierra National Forest, CA. January 2016. Photo: Melissa Thaw. [Click image to enlarge]

SSCZO Principal Investigator Roger Bales wrote an opinion piece published in The Modesto Bee this week. He delivers messages that Californians and other areas affected by drought should hear: 

"Even if El Niño brings more rain and snow this year, the state will still have a large imbalance between supply and demand; and the greater uncertainty added by climate warming makes managing those imbalances even more challenging."

Bales shares some of the recent activities and regulations that are re-shaping the relationships that Californians have with water - both on and below the surface. Discussing the CA Water Action Plan and Sustainable Groundwater Management Act that will be implemented by 2040, Bales says, "That’s commendable, but we need to do more between now and then."

The heavy precipitation that El Nino is bringing to the Sierras this year is great. But one extra-rainy season is a drop in a big bucket of water that's been emptying for decades.

The Sierra Nevada mountain range, where SSCZO is based, is estimated to provide about 60 percent of the water volume consumed by the State of California. And beyond resources for people, the Sierras are home to unique ecosystems, endangered species, and some of the largest living things in the world - trees. Bales states that tree death is as high as 50 percent in some forested areas of the Sierras, largely due to the ongoing multi-year drought in California. Forest loss that high can have big impacts - habitat loss, erosion changes, slope stability, fire risk, and more.
 

Written by Michelle Gilmore


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